I have a shop on etsy: Etsy.com/shop/KarloffKouture
A tumblr page in the works: KarloffKouture.tumblr.com
When did your business launch?
Around June of 2012, I opened up my shop on etsy.
What is your business about? What is it that you do/sell?
In my shop, I do a lot of Horror themed hair accessories, along with things revolving around the geek culture. I've focused a lot on Star Wars, as I'm a big fan, but I also reach out to the fandom universe, like Supernatural and Doctor Who.
What gave your the inspiration or motivation for your business?
Honestly, I have always been a firm believer in the DIY attitude. If I can do it myself, then I will. I just remember going through sites online and seeing so many overpriced items that weren't even of a good quality (not everywhere, mind you, there are PLENTY of shops that sell quality items at a decent price) and just thought to myself,"Damn, I could do that." It started out with just making things for myself, but I ended up getting so much positive feedback on my accessories that I figured,"Screw it, why not me too?"
Do you do this full time/part time?
I actually run my shop full time.
How has your life changed since starting your business?
Honestly, prior to starting Karloff Kouture, I had plenty of creative outlets, but none that received much recognition. Since opening up the shop, I have sold countless orders to women all over the US and all over the world, for that matter. When I would receive feedback and photos of people wearing my merchandise and being so happy with what I made for them, it almost gave me a sense of accomplishment. It drives me to do better.
What is the biggest obstacle you have encountered?
Standing out from the crowd was a bit of a struggle at first. You go through the pages on etsy and there are countless shops making hair accessories. In the beginning, I was discouraged thinking my shop would just be white noise amongst the sea of shops on the site, but over time and thanks to tumblr (I had an account prior to the one I just started), I had a lot of support and exposure and my shop did very well after a while.
What is something you thought was going to be hard, but turned out to be simple, in regards to your business?
In my shop, I mostly make Made To Order products, and I was worried that it would be a bit overwhelming in the beginning. I work incredibly well under pressure, so it ended up being a breeze for me.
What has been your biggest success to date?
Other than breaking the 400th order mark on my shop, I haven't really had anything major happen yet. I would like to start working with models to wear my accessories in shoots, though.
Do you have any big plans/ideas/launches planned for 2015?
I am currently working on a new line of items to come out this year! Hair accessories, purses, and a lot of DIY punk and Psychobilly vests. I also have some ideas in the air regarding my place in the Body Positivity community, and I will be bringing my logos and message to the shop as well. And finally, I will also be listing certain hair accessories that when purchased, all proceeds will be donated to The Joyful Heart Foundation.
What would you like to share with COAST readers about your company/business?
I'd like to express my thanks to anyone reading that has supported my shop in the past, for one. You guys helped turn something I love into more than I could have ever hoped for. This shop is so much more than just making money to me, it's also helped me meet so many wonderful people.
Lastly, what is the advice you would give to someone looking to start a company or business similar to yours?
My advice would be to put your heart and soul into what you make. Let your imagination run wild and create something beautiful. Even if you're discouraged, never give up on doing what you love. It's a long road ahead of you, but once you find yourself where you need to be, you'll look back on all of the hard work you've put in and it will be so worth it. When it hits you that people around the world are happy with what you've made, what you've put so much effort into, it will make the struggle worthwhile. And lastly, take pride in what you do and don't ever let anyone cause you to second guess yourself.
COUPON/DISCOUNT CODES FOR COAST READERS:
FREESHIP13 gets Free US shipping on orders of $25 or more.
FLASH13 for 13% off orders of $10.
My Star Wars items are a BOGO item right now, where you buy two and get a surprise Star Wars bow free.